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Publishing of six Dr. Seuss books stopped for racist, insensitive images

Literary scholars have studied Seuss' work and pointed out its anti-Black and anti-Japanese themes

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Six Dr. Seuss books will stop being published due to racist and insensitive images.

Six Dr. Seuss books will stop being published due to racist and insensitive images.

The announcement came from Dr. Seuss Enterprises on the author’s birthday Tuesday. 

Dr. Seuss Enterprises told the Associated Press that the books portray people in ways that are “hurtful and wrong.” 

The six books are McElligot’s PoolOn Beyond ZebraScrambled Eggs Super!The Cat’s Quizzer, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street and If I Ran the Zoo.  

After months of discussion, the decision to stop the publication of the books was made last year. 

In Seuss’ And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, an Asian person is shown with chopsticks while eating from a bowl. The book If I Ran the Zoo features African men wearing grass skirts and their hair tied above their heads. 

In 2018, a Dr. Seuss museum in Massachusetts removed a mural that included imagery of a Chinese man with chopsticks, a pointed hat and slanted slit eyes. 

Literary scholars have studied Seuss’s work and pointed out its anti-Japanese and anti-Black themes. 

Katie Ishizuka, a co-founder of the Conscious Kid Social Justice Library, said, “In addition to how people of color are portrayed in his children’s books through Orientalist and anti-Black stereotypes and caricatures, they are almost always presented as subservient, and peripheral to, the white characters.” 

Dr. Seuss Enterprises says ceasing the sales on those six books is part of their commitment to ensuring the author’s catalog represents and supports all communities. 

Seuss was ranked as the second-highest-paid dead celebrity on Forbes 2020 list with a net worth of $33 million.